2020 October 26
Daily news and anti-corruption report
Oct/26/2020 news wrap-up: \\ War in Artsakh (Karabakh) \\ battlefield & analysis \\ diplomatic affairs \\ international response \\ demonstrations for Artsakh's recognition \\ humanitarian aid for Artsakh \\ other news...
in case you missed yesterday's diplomatic եռուզեռ
The United States has brokered a ceasefire beginning at 8 am on October 26th. Trump congratulated Pashinyan and Aliyev on the ceasefire agreement.
During the campaign rally in New Hampshire, Trump also made another comment: "[we will broker a ceasefire], if you know what you're doing, then it's easy, just as in the case of Kosovo in Serbia. We've done that with Kosovo. You can believe me."
Several Armenian lawmakers interpreted this as a possibility that the United States could recognize Artsakh just as in the case of Kosovo, but Trump's comments likely had another context relating to trade and normalization of relations, rather than a direct recognition.
Artsakh President Arayik: The Republic of Artsakh, as a party to the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict, reaffirms its readiness to maintain the terms of the humanitarian ceasefire.
Armenian MFA criticized Erdogan's "psycho" comment: Our full solidarity with France and French President Emanuel Macron. Offensive rhetoric, support for terrorism, use of religious issues to inflame hatred have no place in the civilized world.
continuing on the topic of Turkish economy…
How has COVID affected Turkish tourism? Tourism and travel account for ~10% of GDP share and 8% of the workforce.
The number of tourists YoY reduced from 52 million to 15 million, and the revenues from $34b to $11b.
Turkey opened the doors in August but there were still fewer travelers: 1.8m vs 6.3m year. The open-door policy ended up increasing COVID cases, prompting the govt to declare curfew in some cases, and will likely further restrict tourism.
To make matters worse, the Turkish hotels are leasing the rooms at higher prices. During the first wave, Antalya's hotels raised the fees by 26% ($252) while revenue per room reduced by 9%.
Some experts believe that the final nail in the coffin for the tourism industry could be Turkey's close ties with terrorist organizations, especially after the U.S. State Department's warning on Saturday about possible terror attacks.
As for the currency Lira, it continues to rapidly devalue. It fell to 8 Liras per Dollar, amid inappropriate comments by Erdogan towards Emmanuel Macron.
Meanwhile, Erdogan has called for Turks to boycott French products. The trade between the two states was $16b in 2018.
October 26 / diplomacy & international response / battlefield / demonstrations & donations
00:16: Armenian soldier enacts an episode from a movie played by legendary Frunzik Mkrtchyan:
00:28: Armenians are marching in New York in solidarity with Artsakh. They crossed the George Washington Bridge and held a demonstration calling for an end to Azeri-Turkish aggression.
Some 20,000 Armenians held a demonstration yesterday in front of the Eiffel Tower. They called for Artsakh's official recognition.
00:34: Russian ANNA correspondent says lately Azeris have been using Smerch missiles to target the Stepanakert-Goris road, and some of them fall in the Republic of Armenia territory "more often" now.
8:00 Pashinyan: as we've agreed yesterday in Washington, the Armenian side will fully respect the 8 o'clock ceasefire.
[now comes the strange part]
8:02 Azeri MoD: Armenians broke the ceasefire. [then Azeri MoD immediately deletes the message]
8:06 Azeri MoD: the Azeri side will respect the ceasefire.
8:10 Azeri MoD: Armenians broke the ceasefire in south.
8:15 Azeri MoD: Armenians broke the ceasefire at 8:05 am.
[People wonder, how exactly does this work? At 8:02 am they wrote that Armenians broke the ceasefire and deleted it. Then they claimed Armenians had broken it at 8:05 am. A time machine?]
8:35 Armenian MoD: Azeri MoD spread misinformation about us violating the ceasefire in order to prepare a ground for future provocations. Our soldiers are strictly following the agreement.
9:01 Armenian MoD: Azerbaijan has violated the ceasefire and used artillery in the north-east around 8:45 am.
9:21 Armenian MoD: Azeris violated the ceasefire again and fired 5 artillery shots in the south-east.
9:46 Pashinyan: the Armenian side continues to strictly follow the ceasefire.
9:36: thousands of Armenians and allies held a large demonstration in Aleppo, Syria in support of Artsakh and against Turkey-backed terrorism.
An Armenian MP urged the Syrian govt to recognize the independence of Artsakh.
10:35: Armenians held a car caravan demonstration in Cyprus. They traveled to the Israeli embassy with demands to end the delivery of drones that were used against civilians.
10:55: Iranian actress and singer Golshifteh Farahani has joined the "Artists For Artsakh" concert planned for October 28th.
10:57: Russia has urged Turkey to put an effort into achieving a ceasefire and relaunching negotiations.
11:10 U.S. Representative Adam Schiff: the U.S. should continue to pressure Aliyev and Erdogan to end the war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
11:11: Russian ANNA correspondent says Azeris flew a striker drone into the Republic of Armenia, near southern Goris city. It was shot by the air defense. About ten minutes later another drone was shot, per report.
11:12: photos of soldiers from the front lines.
11:14 Artsakh govt: Azeris violated the ceasefire. They used aviation against civilian Martuni city.
11:24: Artsakh refugees held a demonstration in front of the EU embassy in Yerevan.
11:39: sappers continue to find and destroy unexploded mines in the capital Stepanakert.
11:55: interview with volunteer soldiers.
12:01 Pashinyan: despite occasional provocations, the ceasefire is, for the most part, in place.
12:16: Artsakh refugee kids and Yerevan kids are playing with toy guns against an imaginary enemy. Yerevan kids yell "մոնստըռները էկան, խփե՛ք" while Artsakh kids say "թո՛րքը կյամա, թխե՛". (don't try to use Google Translate :)
13:03: the army released a music clip featuring the soldiers and calling for volunteers to join
13:12 Russian ANNA correspondent: Ilham Aliyev gave a speech and said that the Turkish F-16 jets are parked in Azerbaijan and will be used in the event of foreign aggression. What other evidence do you need that another NATO base was formed at our [Russian] border? Isn't this a threat to our security?
13:22 Russian ANNA correspondent: Russian air force conducted a strike against a facility belonging to HST Hayat Tahrir al-Sham while they were holding a meeting in the presence of commanders. Around a hundred deaths. The tip was received from HST's rival cell Huras ad-Din.
[Some Syrian militants fighting in Artsakh are members of HTS.]
13:23 Hollywood actor Mel Gibson: I am very saddened to hear the recent conflict in Artsakh. I have many Armenian friends here in the United States. They all told me about your pains, loss of life. I have a great deal of respect for the Armenian people, a people of great resilience and of great heart. And the grace to deal with great hardship this history has shown.
I pray for the Armenian people at this difficult time. I also pray that a peaceful solution can be reached. Stay strong my friends, keep hard and God bless you.
14:11 army: Azerbaijan has so far lost 6674 soldiers, 6 TOS heavy missile units, 600 tanks and armored vehicles, 24 aircrafts, 16 helicopters, 220 drones, etc.
14:17 army: despite the ceasefire agreement, Azeris launched an attack in the south-eastern front, and also fired a Smerch missile towards Zardarashen village in Martuni district. The defense army is fighting to repel the attacks and throw them back.
[It was later revealed that one civilian was killed and two injured during the bombing.]
14:47: misleading news was circulated claiming the Georgian customs agency blocked the import of ambulance vehicles into Armenia. The video showed the long queue lines in Georgian customs which is normal right now.
15:08 Artsakh president's adviser: Azerbaijan not respecting the ceasefire brokered by the U.S. would be a big blow to Donald Trump on the eve of the elections.
15:39: president Sarkissian congratulated Austrian counterpart with the independence day and thanked Austria for passing a resolution that condemns Turkey's involvement and arms supplies to Azerbaijan.
A Canadia-based company had earlier instructed its Austria-based subsidiary Rotax to end the supply of engines to Turkey after it was revealed they were being used in Bayraktar drones. Rotax has confirmed the news of the suspension.
15:54: Gagik Tsarukyan has created a group of experienced volunteers equipped with the necessary tech and stuff, said the BHK party. Tsarukyan was recently released from jail after posting bail.
15:57: the city of Serres, Greece passed a resolution to condemn the Turkish-Azeri aggression and to raise the Armenian flag above the city in solidarity.
16:01: women from Hadrut are baking spinach-bread and pahlava. The revenues will be donated to Himnadram.org. They have a Facebook page Հադրութի Համը։
16:35: Artsakh govt has approved a law to pay Աշխարհազորային volunteers regular wages and bonuses.
Public sector workers will be guaranteed salaries plus bonuses. The bonus fund for doctors will equal 75% of the salary fund. For Emergency Departments: 50%.
Public workers who were unable to work this month will also get paid.
16:37 army: there are heavy battles in the south-east.
16:52: Gyumri artists held an art expo to present paintings and donate the revenue to Himnadram.org
16:54 President Sarkissian article to The National: "Turkey risks setting the whole Caucasus ablaze"
17:34: Greek MFA has described Turkey as a "travel agent for Syrian militants."
17:09: Pashinyan's son Ashot sent a photo from the front lines:
17:11: meet the electricians who fix electric and telecom wires under the enemy fire:
17:39: Formula-1 pilot Max Verstappen has donated to the www.1000plus.am fund that helps the recovering soldiers and their families. "I could not enjoy my victory without donating to the insurance fund of Armenian soldiers who sacrifice their lives for the sake of the homeland every day", said the pilot.
18:11: MMA fighter Edward Vardanyan (20-4) has moved from Russia to Artsakh to provide humanitarian aid.
18:27 army: around 5 pm the intensity of the fire in front lines sharply increased. The opponent uses artillery and tanks. An air siren briefly went off in capital Stepanakert after a drone was spotted. Villages Avetaranots and three others were targeted.
18:43: Azeris used GRAD and Smerch to shell the city Martuni and surrounding areas. A house caught on fire. Firefighters are on the scene.
18:54 Artsakh president Arayik: despite the efforts by Minsk Group co-chairs, Azerbaijan continues to ignore and violate the humanitarian ceasefire, just as in the previous instances.
All this confirms that the Azeri authorities, with the unconditional support of Turkey and mercenary terrorists, have no intention of resuming a peaceful dialogue. They make it clear that they'll continue to try to commit ethnic cleansings of the Armenian population.
Therefore, our national task is to fight for the safe and dignified existence of the Artsakh Armenians in their homeland. The security and rights of our people are not subject to compromise, and our determination in this matter is above all circumstances.
19:26 Pashinyan went Live on Facebook: last night I spoke with Mike Pompeo and warned that Azeris would try to violate the ceasefire and blame us, again. I asked Pompeo if there are plans to identify who violated it and take action. The workday has just begun in the United States, so let's wait for their response.
The Minsk Group co-chairs are sincerely trying to establish a ceasefire, so I don't want you to have any doubts about Russia, France, or the United States leaders. Azerbaijan's blatant disregard for this ceasefire could, however, have a direct impact on Trump's election campaign.
Every time Armenia agreed to a compromise solution, Azerbaijan demanded more. It's clear that their goal is not the settlement of this conflict diplomatically. They want Artsakh's capitulation, which we will never agree to. We must find resources to defend ourselves.
Every Armenian should dedicate themselves to this problem, just as much as soldiers who stand in the front lines. To return to the negotiating table, we must stand in the front lines first.
I thank everyone who is volunteering. I call for all men to appear in the nearest military units and draft for army service, and for women to encourage men to do so instead of keeping them back. There should be 24-hour queue lines in front of military commissariats. People should be ready to carry out any order of the Defense Army.
Today the fate of our people is being decided. There is no better way to solve a fate than to take the wheel of your fate in your own hands. As commander-in-chief, I demand that every citizen listens to my call and order; every man should get up right now and go to his military commissariat.
20:44: First Lady Anna Hakobyan will join the front lines with a 13-member female group. Their training will begin tomorrow.
19:47: the All-Armenia Fund at www.HimnaDram.org has so far collected $150m. "Let us unite for the sake of the homeland. We thank our donors. Join the movement and make your donation now!"
19:46 Russian WarGonzo reporter says: a few months earlier, pro-Turkish Syria-based group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) [some of whom are fighting in Artsakh] organized a terrorist attack in Russia. They recruited two citizens of Khabarovsk to carry out attacks in Russia's far East.
The suspect, who visited from Uzbekistan, confessed to trying to throw Molotov cocktails at demonstrators in Khabarovsk city, under the orders of the pro-Turkish terrorist cell in northern Syria.
The video shows the alleged terrorist and the explosive items under his possession: https://t.me/wargonzo/3837
20:00: the army has awarded medals to Sergeant Mnatsakan Sahakyan and Arman Vardumyan for shooting 7 tanks and 1 other armored vehicle. Two others received medals for shooting 2 drones and precise artillery calculations.
Major General Karen Mkhitaryan and two Colonels received medals for the correct organization of forces which led to the destruction of an enemy unit.
Medals were awarded to two soldiers for shooting 4 armored vehicles each and 2 tanks.
20:05: ladies are sewing bedding items for soldiers and disguise-nets used for concealing weapons.
21:04: Donald Trump was apparently told that the ceasefire is in place.
U.S. Representative Frank Pallone says Pompeo should ensure that Azerbaijan agrees to install border monitoring mechanisms to monitor the ceasefire.
22:00 army spokesman Artsrun's briefing: during last evening's battles Azeris captured Qubatli (south-west) and advanced in some locations. Tomorrow we'll show a more detailed map.
In the morning, Azeris and the terrorist cells launched a widespread attack in the south-east in multiple locations. Simultaneously, they bombed civilian settlements.
Throughout the day, Azeris failed to break through the line of contact. In some areas, they appeared to seemingly have success but our counter-attack recovered the positions and restored the line of contact.
In the center-east, in the forests near the villages between Martuni and Hadrut, the location and neutralization of infiltrator groups continue. Some infiltrators left vehicles and fled but battles continue in other villages (Jivanik, Shekher, Azokh).
It's true that Azeris got close to the Armenian border in the south-west, but the situation is not dire. I believe in the capabilities and courage of Armenian soldiers. Army's retreat is sometimes necessary for better defense and saving lives, but they also often make the well-equipped enemy route in other places.
Our army is in control of the situation even though oftentimes they face an enemy with 8-12x larger force.
Today our generals stand next to privates and volunteers and shoot enemy tanks. I am confident that we will win. We've seen many days like these in our history.
Q: can you give details about kamikaze drones made in Armenia?
A: their usage isn't quantitively high right now but they have their place on the battlefield. Our scientists continue to develop them.
22:54 Artsakh govt: we shot down 2 Azeri drones.
23:11: a suicide bomber exploded in Iskenderun, Turkey during a police check.
23:45 army spokesman: Today also, the special detachments considered to be one of the most powerful in the world fled from the counterattack of the Armenian generals and conscripts.
COVID vs economy
September 2020 vs September 2019:
The economic activity index -7.5% (or -6.6% for Jan-Sep period)
Industrial production output +1.8%
Exports +4.6%. Imports -20.4%
Services (minus trade) -18%
Trade turnover -10.8%
Energy production -1.7%
Average monthly nominal salary +3.9%
Armenian student team won a gold and three silver medals in the astronomy Olympiad held in Estonia among 280 students from 40 states
How to help Artsakh
www.1000plus.am (medical help for former soldiers)
www.HimnaDram.org (international donations)
www.ArmeniaFund.org (tax-deductible in the U.S.)
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October 25, October 24, October 23, October 22, October 21, October 20, October 19, October 18, October 17, October 16, October 15, October 14, October 13, October 12, October 11 , October 10, October 9 , October 8 , October 7, October 6, October 5, October 4, October 3, October 2, October 1, September 30, September 29, September 28, September 27.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/jimbx9/oct262020_news_wrapup_war_in_artsakh_karabakh/
Disclaimer: All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law, even if they may sound as being guilty. Currency in Armenian Drams ֏ unless specified otherwise. Helpful overview of Armenia's media ownership and leanings.
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|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2020 Daily Armenia Reports|